Antitrust Research Scholar

California, United States
10 Oct 2019
End of advertisement period
09 Dec 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Program on Democracy and the Internet seeks a full-time Antitrust Research Scholar with experience and interest in antitrust law and a specific focus on the technology sector.

This is a 100% FTE, fixed-term position. The term concludes one year from the start date, and may be extended based on program need and funding availability.

For consideration, please submit CV and cover letter. All final candidates must complete a background check.

One of the most important policy issues surrounding modern digital platforms like Google, Facebook, and Amazon is their sheer scale.  Depending on how one defines the market they are operating in (search, online advertising, or online retailing), their market share gives them dominance not just in the United States, but in many other countries as well.  This has both economic and political consequences.

In the economic sphere, it is rapidly becoming evident that the legal framework under which the FTC and Justice Department have brought anti-trust actions against technology companies is not appropriate for the digital era. Beginning in the 1970s, the grounds for federal anti-trust actions began to narrow and center on consumer welfare as measured by consumer prices.  The intellectual foundations of this interpretation rested on the then increasingly fashionable view that markets could be self-regulating, as well as a Schumpeterian belief that creative destruction involved the successive exploitation of monopoly rents.  The anti-trust actions against IBM and Microsoft were widely perceived as costly and time-consuming failures. 

It is clear, however, that this framework is inadequate today.  Platforms like Google and Facebook give away their products for free; the costs to consumers lie in other spheres such as lost privacy or innovation that does not happen as a result of anti-competitive acquisitions.  Google and Facebook have together acquired several hundred startups in recent years, including highly successful ones like YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram; their motives are not necessarily to make these new products better, but to avoid potential competition to their existing ones.  It is clear that we do not have good legal measures of the harms they potentially inflict, or even a theory about the workings of digital markets that would allow us to create such measures.

The Antitrust Research Scholar will work with Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and Professor by courtesy in the Department of Political Science, on a project that will begin by establishing the normative grounds of new approach to anti-trust that will be adequate to meets the needs of the new digital economy.  The project will make the case that new interpretations of the law are needed to broaden their applicability to contemporary technology companies. The most important issues that the project will hope to address will be potential legal remedies to the problem of platform scale. The Antitrust Research Scholar will develop robust analysis and policy recommendations in this area. Academic interests and excellence are a must for the position.

Duties include:

  • Leading the development of a white paper out of a series of working groups in collaboration with the project director, Francis Fukuyama.
  • Communication and coordinating with other engaged organizations.
  • Participating in international meetings on Antitrust issues
  • Organizing and running events related to Antitrust, including an annual conference
  • Promoting the final white paper to target audiences
  • Presenting white paper findings at conferences and workshops 


  • PhD or JD (or equivalent foreign degree) required
  • Work experience in Antitrust Law – at least three years preferred, but exceptions may be made for exceptional candidates
  • Prior professional or academic work relating to Antitrust
  • Public speaking experience
  • Exceptional writing skills
  • Strong grasp of technical concepts and ability to collaborate with technologists
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work collaboratively
  • Ability to work in a self-directed and entrepreneurial environment

The position is based at the Program on Democracy and the Internet, part of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center at the Freeman Spogli Institute. It is initially for 12 months with possibility for extension. The salary is competitive, commensurate with experience, and includes comprehensive Stanford University benefits. Working on the Stanford campus is required. We are open to international candidates and visa assistance will be provided as necessary.  

About the Program on Democracy and the Internet:

The Program on Democracy and the Internet (PDI) fosters scholarship, convenings, and courses on the unique challenges digital technologies pose to democracy. The internet and social media are having a profound impact on democracy in the United States and around the world. New communication platforms allow established political actors to speak like never before in an unmediated voice to the citizenry. The same technology that gives voice to the previously voiceless, however, empowers foreign actors seeking to undermine democracy, trolls who silence journalists and minority groups through threats and hate speech, and “bots” that attempt to manipulate search engines and flood social media. Concerns about viral deception, anonymity, echo chambers, and platform information monopolies pose new challenges for democracy in the digital age. 

PDI brings together leaders in industry and the academy to share research, engage in productive dialogue, and grapple with these problems. Scholars doing work under the umbrella of PDI come from the Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford Law School, the Graduate School of Business, and the Stanford Departments of Engineering, Education, Economics, Political Science, and Communication. PDI also hosts the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age. The Commission includes members from civil society and government, the technology sector, academia and media who examine and review the opportunities and challenges for electoral integrity created by technological innovations.

The Program on Democracy and the Internet is hosted at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center at the Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI) in collaboration with the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) and the Stanford Law School. The program is led by Nathaniel Persily, Co-Director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center and James B. McClatchy Professor of Law, Francis Fukuyama, Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law and Senior Fellow at FSI, and PACS Faculty Co-Director and Professor of Political Science, Rob Reich.

Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Stanford welcomes applications from all who would bring additional dimensions to the University's research mission.

Additional Information

Schedule: Full-time
Job Code: 6784
Employee Status: Fixed-Term
Grade: R99
Requisition ID: 84963